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Embedded Systems

How to Make PCBs at Home With Toner Transfer Method

Toner Transfer method for making PCB at home is probably one thing that went as viral as the Arduino. Electronics hobbyists around the world started using it to make professional looking PCBs at home. Here I will document the steps involved in fabricating PCBs with things that you can mostly find off the shelf. Before getting to the details in the making your own PCBs I wish to share an old experience. So, if you have left the soldering iron …

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Stepper Motor Interface with PIC Microcontroller

stepper motor interface

In my previous post Introduction to Stepper Motors and How they Work, we had a look at stepper motors and how they work. This post will deal with the programming and circuitry involved in the stepper motor interface with PIC Microcontrollers. Usually a microcontroller is used to produce the stepping sequence for the stepper motor. But this is not the only method of producing the stepping sequence. It can be produced by using flip flops, logic gates and some knowledge about digital …

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Stepper Motors – Introduction and Working Principle

Stepper motor is a specially designed DC motor that can be driven by giving excitation pulses to the phase windings. They cannot be driven by just connecting the positive and negative leads of the power supply. They are driven by a stepping sequence which is generated by a controller. The motor moves in steps according to this sequence. This post will discuss the basic theory behind the stepper motors. Printers are a great source for stepper motors. Old dot matrix …

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Make a Digital Clock with DS1307 and PIC 18F4520

digital clock lcd

Digital clocks are are very commonly (cheaply) available these days. Some of them have a built in RTC to keep the time running even if the main battery fails and some of them don’t. In either case, for an offline embedded application to get a time stamp, an RTC in almost the only cheap solution solution available. Most of these clocks use a 7-Segment display to display the time and date while some use LCD displays. In this post we will see how to …

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8 Reasons Why You Should Switch to MPLAB X IDE

The MPLAB X is an IDE for Microchip PIC microcontrollers. It has a lot of added features when compared to the older MPLAB IDE v8.xx. The MPLAB X is not a new version of the current MPLAB IDE v8 framework but is instead based on Oracle‘s open-source NetBeans platform. Old habits die hard they say, that’s exactly what happens when you are migrating from one IDE to another for the same controller, you tend to have a hostile feeling. I still see some people …

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Interface – LCD in 4 bit Mode: Part 3

LCD in 4 bit mode pin connection

Embedded applications are always developed on controllers whose resources are almost fully used in order to cut the cost of the product. This is done especially in applications that do not need any future expansions or a firmware updates. They are Make-it and Forget-it kind of applications. Most of the time, either the memory or the available pins are in demand. In some cases both memory and pin count are less. The Character LCD in 8 bit mode uses 8 …

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Programming LCD in 8 bit mode – Part -2

LCD interface setup

This post documents the steps involved in interfacing the LCD in 8 bit mode with a microcontroller. It belongs to a series of 4 posts. If you landed here straight from a search engine here is an index to help you navigate. LCD Module Basic Theory. (LCD Controllers, CG&DD RAM, PIN description,Timing Diagram, Commands) Programming LCDs in 8 bit mode. (programming pic18f4520 in C with C18 compiler under 8 bit mode) Programming LCDs in 4 bit mode. (programming pic18f4520 in C with C18 compiler under 4 bit mode) Creating Custom Characters …

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Interfacing LCD Module with Microcontroller: Part -1

lcd interface

The LCD module interface with a microcontroller is simple and it is a primitive means of adding a visual appeal to your embedded application. There are two basic types of LCD modules in the market they are, Character LCD and Graphics LCD. Character LCD’s are the some of the cheapest means LCD displays available today. This post is first of a series of four posts that walks through entire process of interfacing an LCD module with a (any) microcontroller with …

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Character LCD Command Sheet HTML Version

Character LCD Command Sheet

I was looking for an Image of the Character LCD command sheet throughout the internet and failed find any good resolution images that I can use for post references. Here is a HTML Version that could be used at whichever resolution you choose! Character LCD Command Sheet Instruction Code Description Execution time RS RW D7 D6 D5 D4 D3 D2 D1 D0 Clear display  0 0  0  0 0 0 0 0 0 1  Clears display and returns cursor to the …

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Workaround for “SD Card Initialization Failed!” in Arduino

Arduino sd card

I was working on a project that involved the use of a SD (Secure Digital) card to log data into a text file. I chose Arduino as it  had a vary stable FAT (File Allocation Table) library. I had an Arduino Mega at my disposal and built a resistive network to step down the logic levels of the Arduino SPI bus at 5v to the SD card’s at 3v3. I was getting voltage levels that were withing the absolute maximum …

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